Pre-Medicine: Berkeley or The University of Michigan?

As May 1st approaches it becomes more and more necessary for me to finally make a decision: where am I going to spend my life, and be successful, for the next 4 years.

I am set on being a physician. I have worked 600 hours with a dual specialty Cardiologist/Radiologist, scene multiple surgeries, and have decided that the best application of science is in the medical field.

It is my dream to practice medicine at the Cleveland Clinic (#4 Hospital in U.S.). To be a physician at the Cleveland Clinic, however, requires a top rate medical school.

I have been accepted to the following schools in order of ranking from least to greatest: The University of Ohio State, The University of Miami Florida, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Case Western Reserve University, The University of Michigan, and the University of California at Berkeley.

I am just wondering which school would set me up with the best opportunity to apply to a top ten medical school.

6 Answers

  • Tom
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    If you are going to Cal Day tomorrow, maybe you'll have a better idea. The overall academic quality of the student body is higher at Michigan due to California demographics and the UC Administration wishing to increase the number of admits belonging to their preferred racial/ethnic groups, African Americans and Hispanics, but not being able to use affirmative action based on race/ethnicity. This has caused them to use affirmative action based on having high grades at an uncompetitive high school regardless of standardized test scores; having first generation college student status and other measures of lower socioeconomic status. The primary beneficiaries of such admission selection policies have been low income Asians, so that Asians now represent around 45% of Berkeley admits while whites represent less than 30%; therefore, even though Michigan has half the applicants and admits a much higher percentage (40% v 20%); the overall academic quality of the admits is higher at Michigan. The 25th and 75th percentile Sat and Act scores bear this out. Instead of Berkeley having substantially higher averages as one might expect, in fact, they are lower and significantly lower at the 25th percentile.


    Sat Cr 25th: 600; 75th: 730


    Sat Cr, 25th: 630; 75th: 730


    Sat M 25th: 630; 75th: 760


    Sat M, 25th: 670; 75th: 770


    Sat W 25th: 610; 75th: 740


    Sat W, 25th: 650; 75th: 750



    The level of grade inflation is about the same at both schools, scroll down:

    Berkeley is about $5,000 less for out of state tuition though the residence halls are more costly. There are significantly lower cost living options off campus: private shared apartments, fraternities, coops etc.

    Berkeley has a slightly smaller undergrad population than Michigan, 25k v 26k, which is insignificant. What is significant is that Michigan has 50% more graduate students, implying Professors have less time to devote to undergraduates, less research opportunities for undergraduates at Michigan and Berkeley is far more highly regarded in the Sciences.

    In terms of weather, unless one enjoys cold weather and hot summers, it is hard to beat the weather in the Bay Area. Berkeley's campus is urban in a small city across the street from the main area of the campus with a variety of inexpensive restaurants serving every cuisine imaginable. A block west of campus one can board a subway and be in downtown San Francisco in 20 minutes. There is windsurfing and sailing available at the Marina three miles west of campus. Skiing in the Sierra is about a 190 mile drive East. Even though the main area of the campus is urban, there are 1800 acres of wilderness area on the eastern area of the campus. Many students enjoy the 6.8 mile round trip run/hike up to the crest of the Berkeley hills through Strawberry Canyon.

    It is helpful to know that US News ratings at the undergrad level do not directly consider the quality of the faculty- the most important factor- and rate elements that heavily bias them to favor private universities. Inside the US, this has over the past thirty years led many people who are not particularly knowledgeable about higher education to believe that private universities are superior to public simply because they are private without realizing that outside the US, all the world's great universities are public. US News Grad rankings are primarily based on the quality of the faculty. Since the same faculty teach undergrads and grads at most universities, the grad rankings are helpful.

    The most popular pre med major at Berkeley is MCB. Its lower division prerequisites meet almost all of the pre med requirements.

    Source(s): At Berkeley, in most departments, undergrads are permitted to enroll in graduate classes if the professor gives his approval. Also, in all departments, in large lecture classes, the professor actually shows up and lectures all semester, and holds regular office hours. It is not like an unnamed world famous university situated along the banks of the Charles, at least several of the residential houses, and this is not referring to MIT or Boston U, where the tenured Star Professor lectures the first two weeks and the last two weeks, holds no office hours and where an untenured professor holds office hours and is in charge of the Graduate Student Instructors who teach the class in discussion sections the bulk of the semester. There are hospitals in Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco including at UCSF where a student can do volunteer work. Good Luck!
  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    University Of Michigan Pre Med

  • 8 years ago

    Actually, your premise is wrong. It is not the undergraduate school you attend, but rather the medical school and the site of your residency (graduate medical education) and possibly your fellowship after residency that determines how much the Cleveland Clinic or any other institutions will want you in their practice.

    For undergraduate school, all of these schools would be an excellent base to get into top-rated medical schools. The key is to do well. The best way to do this is to study something that you really want to learn. Most premeds go into some sort of biological science and slog through. Even if you choose that as your major, pick a minor that is unique and tailored to your personality and interests. That way, you'll stand out from the crowd when you apply to medical school.

    Source(s): "Iserson's Getting Into a Residency: A Guide for Medical Students" 8th edition, 2013, "Get Into Medical School: A Guide for the Perplexed" 2nd edition.
  • 8 years ago

    UC - Berkeley and UM - Ann Arbor are so close in the college rankings, it really doesn't matter. The pre-med courses (bio, chem, physics) are equivalent pretty much everywhere.

    Look at the majors and courses that each school offers to see if one has a program or courses you'd rather take.

    Also check the medical research being done at both. Which school's research centers or areas of study would you prefer to be involved in?

    Beyond that, where would you like to be for four years? If you can, visit both campuses and check out the surrounding towns. If you love warm weather and palm trees, pick sunny California. Michigan is my alma mater, and I loved my time in the world-class cosmopolitan town of Ann Arbor. They have a large medical center there and are known for research. Really, neither school has a definite advantage over the other. It comes down to what you like and how you feel in each place.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 4 years ago

    College Confidential Umich

  • 8 years ago

    Clearly it's Berkeley. But top medical schools don't necessarily care too much about your undergrad studies. It's what you do in school that maters, Like research, high GPAs, and high MCAT scores.

    I know a guy who went to SDSU and he had high GPAs and MCATs and he got interviewed by freaking Harvard.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.